Love is blind. You don’t realize that until you are hopelessly in that situation. For me, it all started with this harmless flirtation, which I had avoided for last so many years.
As I entered the Alamo car rental, to get a car for the 5 hour trip to New Jersey, I had no idea what was in store for me. I was tired and feverish a bit and wasn’t sure if I could make the distance. I had mapped out the way to my destination and was all set as per my SoP (Standard operating Procedure) of travelling. I have been to cities of which I had no idea and armed with just a map and an overactive mind, I make it to strange places. Have been at it for last 10 years almost and am a veteran.
But this time was different. When I took my car out of the Alamo parking lot, it wasn’t just me in the car. There was someone else. She had a beautifully sexy voice and had a temperament that doesn’t exist in the woman-kind. The lady of the GPS!
As was my wont, I relied on my mapping directions, but this dainty, sexy, understanding, loving and warm voice had something else in store for me. She kept insisting on going elsewhere. There was no frustration. No anger. Just plain understanding. She was composed beyond belief. Everytime I went my own way, she would calmly and warmly utter lovingly “Recalculating route.. ” and then come back with her suggestion.
After about half an hour of wayward lifestyle, I asked myself – how long could I breach the trust of someone so loving? How long could I deceive her? So, I gave up. Stopped at a gas station, got some money (who knows what it will take with a “Lovely one” besides me!), and a Monster energy drink to perk my energy up so I could take the “heat” of the journey. And I was all set!
She kept guiding me and I kept following her. She made me retrace the entire path I had taken on my own, and put me on a new path. As is expected, when a new relationship takes you on a new path, on a fresh journey, there is some trepidation.. some excitement.. and some mystery. How will it all turn out to be?
Once she placed me on this long highway, she went quiet. She was not just all about obsessiveness. She was gracious enough to give me my own space as well. I was left with myself, while she was around with her loving presence when it was needed. I realized, she needed her space just as I needed mine. It was a mutual relationship after all.
I am convinced that the women who desperately want more attention from their male partners and those who want more space from their male partners are exactly equal! The rest are lesbians. But we were in unusual territory – perfect balance of space and attention.
On those long stretches, I would often want to listen to her “just one more time”. So I would deliberately move my vehicle to the right most lane, as if to exit, and she would lovingly urge me to not make the mistake of exiting the highway. That was fun! But I couldn’t play with her sentiments, lest she lost her cool. It was a long journey of 6 hours. And I was now coming to fall in love with her.
Soon, the Monster energy drink had its effect, and I realized that my bladder had reached a level where it needed some relief. I saw the sign “Charlston Rest Area”, along with the words “Next rest area 29 miles”. Given the pressure per inch that I could experience, and the distance for the next rest area, I decided I should take a “quick break”. But as I moved in to the rest area, my new sweetheart got worried. She was clearly a goal-oriented person, and couldn’t bear to see me go so off course. She started advising me to go back on the highway. I painfully – part of the pain was in the heart, and partly “down there”, though not sure which one was more – I patted her and assured her of my love for her and respect for her advise and the fact that there are some things that “a man has got to do, when he got to do ’em”.
The decision was now: to take her with me or not? She was not big, but not small enough either! Besides, it was male-only area. However I loved her, it would be inappropriate of me to take her to a place where males were openly handling their wares. So, I decided against it. And with a heavy heart I left.
I was a man in rush and totally aware of the lonely presence in my car. As I stood on the stall in the bathroom relieving myself, I was like a kid who was asked to go run an errand when the climax of his favorite program was being aired. While I was handling the situation delicately, lest I splashed around, I was nevertheless jumping up and down. The guy in the next stall was looking at me. As I looked at him, he was staring with his mouth open as if surprised at my juvenile behavior.. until he realized his feet were all wet! He obviously had missed the shot by a few! “Oops”, I said, pointing to him downwards, with my eyes. Now, he started jumping! Like they say, don’t revel in other’s misfortune, you never know when you would need to jump in with them!
In any case, after that little distraction, I ran back to my vehicle. She was still there and alive! As I turned on my car, she came alive and urged me back on my way.
Now, we both were getting to know each other better. She knew I wanted to hear her voice once in a while, even on long roads, and I knew she couldn’t be micro-managing me with her advice all the time. So, we hit a balance. She would start telling me sometimes well in advance of an exit about it and then progressively reminding of it. Her soothing voice was like an oasis on a journey where nothing interesting was on at any of the radio channels and I had forgotten to get a Rafi or Mukesh CD to listen.
Sometimes, when left to myself, I admit I was naughty. I would make fun of the other drivers or have imaginary discussions with them. She patiently sat through all this. That is the hallmark of true love, I presume. You accommodate the best and the ugliest of a person with the equanimity born out of hopeless love.
I reached late at night, but all night, my mind went back to my new sweetheart. The next day, I had a dinner appointment with a few friends, and I drove halfway through the state to the other side. I was meeting one of the most loved heart-throb of our high school class after 25 years, and a friend who was with me when I first went to school as a toddler. It was a difficult drive through lonely roads and farm fields, but my lady love had nothing to fear. I have been at the gym getting myself ready for just such occasions! It was a great time at dinner, and as soon as I was done, I was back in the arms of my lady. My friends advised me of another way back, which is much easier. “Just shut it up and don’t listen to her when she speaks”, my friend suggested. I nodded. It hurt, but oh well, friends change. They don’t realize the depth of someone’s love. Anyways, his advice was good and I decided to see how best I could administer it.
As I came back, and the lady started speaking, I gave in to her. How long can you argue with true love?
Love is in giving in, not in taking on!
So, we were back in the same zone. She would suggest the way, I would follow and then there would be this pregnant silence, where we both were aware of each other’s presence.
By the time, I reached home, I had decided that I will finally go for the GPS, something that I had been avoiding all my adult life in the US.